Wedding

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Liz & Nathen

This has been a wedding that I have been anticipating with bated breathe. Since before their engagement session, I’ve watched Liz & Nathen hope, dream, plan, and then wait. You see Liz & Nathen have literally had oceans between them for the past four years. Liz here in North Carolina and Nathen living in Australia. They fell in love through writing. They traveled halfway around the world to visit each other. They endured tedious government systems all for the sake of love. Could there be a more romantic story? C’mon! To make things legal and final both of them had to jump through an endless row of hoops. But each hoop was worth it all. When you see their dreamy elopement at the Providence Cotton Mill in Maiden, NC you’ll understand.

The Providence Cotton Mill

Liz introduced me to this incredible venue. She sent me links to several beautiful locations, but the Providence Cotton Mill was a unique find. I had never seen a wedding venue quite like it and I was immediately smitten. Liz still hadn’t decided where their elopement would take place, but I just had to visit the cotton mill. In fact, I’ll be doing a whole feature on the mill and all it has to offer. So stay tuned!

The Providence Cotton Mill provides a hauntingly beautiful backdrop for a wedding. It’s completely open, no windows and no air, but the aethstic of is breathtaking. The building is huge and can hold hundreds of people! But for Liz & Nathen’s tiny elopement, it was a dramatic contrast. I also have to brag on the staff at The Providence Cotton Mill. Both times I’ve visited I’ve been welcomed warmly. They happily answered my questions and helped Liz & Nathen in any way they needed.

Finally!

After such anticipation, you could not have had a more perfect day for a wedding. The sun was shining, it wasn’t too hot for the venue, and Liz & Nathen were IN ONE PLACE! As the sun set, Liz glided down the longest aisle anyone has ever walked, to see her groom. She paused a few feet away, took a deep breath, and then invited Nathen to turn. Shock quickly turned to joy when Nathen beheld his bride. They shared a sweet moment and then arm in arm walked to their long awaited ceremony.  They both shared hand written vows, befitting their love story. Every word resonated deeply with their long distance love. They sealed it all with a well deserved kiss as we all cheered our approval. The word “finally” doesn’t even cover the relief and joy we all felt as their marriage was made official. Everyone was so happy!

We ended the evening with cake, photos, laughter, and hugs. A beautiful day for my beautiful friends. Thank you Liz & Nathen for choosing me to capture it all for you!

XOXOXO,
Mabyn

P.S. funny side story – Liz & I met 5 years to the day that she got married. We both agreed our friendship was kismet from the beginning!

Groom & ring bearers help decorate the Providence Cotton Mill in Maiden, NCThe ring bearers race across the lawn at the Providence Cotton Mill in Maiden, NC

The Providence Cotton Mill is a unique venue for a weddingA reception table at the Providence Cotton MillWedding decor at the Providence Cotton Mill in Maiden, NCDreamy Elopement at the Providence Cotton MillBeautiful cake table at the Providence Cotton MillGroom laughs as he waits for his bride at the Providence Cotton Mill in MaidenBride helps decorate the Providence Cotton Mill in Maiden, NCBride getting the details just right at the Providence Cotton MillWedding gown hangs in the doorway at the Providence Cotton Mill in Maiden, NCThe bride's shoes elegantly posed in window light at the Providence Cotton Mill The bride looks lovingly at her gown as she gets ready at the Providence Cotton MillBridesmaids help the bride into her wedding gown at the Providence Cotton Mill in Maiden, NCA beautiful bride at the Providence Cotton Mill in MaidenA bride puts on her jewelry in the window of the Providence Cotton MillA bride twirls in her wedding gown at the Providence Cotton Mill in Maiden, NCBride walks down the aisle at the Providence Cotton MillGroom see's his bride for the first time at the Providence Cotton Mill in MaidenDreamy Elopement at the Providence Cotton MillRing bearers snuggle with their mom during this Providence Cotton Mill elopementA peek through the window during this Providence Cotton Mill elopement in Maiden, NCDreamy Elopement at the Providence Cotton MillBride gets emotional during their wedding ceremony at the Providence Cotton MillGroom gives his heart felt vows at his Providence Cotton Mill elopementCouple holds hands during their elopement at the Providence Cotton MillCouple walks hand in hand after the ceremony of their Providence Cotton Mill elopementA sweet kiss after the wedding ceremony at the Providence Cotton Mill in Maiden, NCThe look of love of a bride and groom at the Providence Cotton Mill in MaidenCouple snuggles in the doorway of the Providence Cotton Mill on their wedding dayDreamy Elopement at the Providence Cotton MillGroup hug at the Providence Cotton Mill in Maiden, NC with the wedding partyWedding party eats cake during their Providence Cotton Mill ElopementThe bride and groom walk hand in hand at the Providence Cotton Mill in Maiden, NCThe bride and groom snuggle on the patio of the Providence Cotton Mill Dreamy Elopement at the Providence Cotton Mill in Maiden, NCBride and groom pose in one of the large windows at the Providence Cotton Mill The Providence Cotton Mill near Maiden, NC lit up at night with the bride and groom in it's window

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Dreamy Elopement at the Providence Cotton Mill in Maiden, NC | Liz & Nathen

Wedding

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Nicola & Gabe knew they didn’t want a big fancy affair for their wedding day. They wanted simple and sweet surrounded by those they love most. So when these two started planning their wedding, it was only natural that a civil ceremony would be the perfect fit. They did some research and found that their wedding would take place at the Hickory Police Department. Not the most glamorous idea, but that didn’t matter to these two.

The Hickory Plan

When you have a civil ceremony, you don’t have a ton of control. You can try and plan a day and even a time, but it’s really up to the magistrate and how many other people are waiting in line. So with a little bit of buffer in their schedule, Nicola and Gabe chose a date and time and told everyone to come along. We all knew the risks of having to wait awhile and we were all happy to do so. Just as long as these two love birds got to say “I Do” at the end, we were happy campers!

So we arrived at the Hickory Police Department at the scheduled time. Everyone was all smiles and laughter as Nicola and Gabe walked into the building to start the process. They walked back out moments later with a giant plot twist! The Hickory magistrate had called in sick for the day! No one would be able to marry them there.

The Newton Plan

Well that just wouldn’t do for Nicola and Gabe. So they packed up their family & friends and adventured over to the next town, Newton, to their local magistrate. On the way, they called ahead only to find that Newton was picking up most of the slack for Hickory and the likelihood of getting in before they closed would be slim. But, with their fingers crossed and hope on their side they chose to go for it anyways!

We all arrived at the Newton Police Department with all of our fingers, toes, and limbs crossed that they’d get in AND that we’d get to take pictures. These two had luck on their side…or maybe something a little more. After about a 30-40 minute wait the magistrate squeezed them in! Nicola and Gabe’s excited smiles were the biggest I’ve ever seen! IT WAS HAPPENING!

12 guests, two vendors (the magistrate and myself), and one head over heels couple squeeze into that tiny conference room. Just as they kinda…sorta… planned, Nicola and Gabe were surrounded by those they love and were married right then and there. It was PERFECT!

The Perfect Unplanned Plan

We managed to find a beautiful walking trail right behind the building where they were married. What was one more advenutre on this crazy wonderful day right? We gathered everyone together, celebrated with rose petals and group hugs. Then off to the woods we went for a few sweet photos of this new husband and wife!

Thank you Nicola & Gabe for choosing me to capture your amazing adventure of a wedding day! It was truly unique and truly YOU and I loved being part of it all!

XOXOXO,
Mabyn

Vendor shoutout to Becca Easterling for Nicola’s gorgeous hairstyle. Thistle Dew Nicely Florals & Gifts for a beautiful floral boquet.

Couple waits at the Newton justice of the peace for their civil ceremony Nicola gazing lovingly at her groom at the Newton Justic of the Peace

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Romantic Civil Ceremony in Newton, NC | Nicola & Gabe

Wedding

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People ask me all the time how we get so many cool destination weddings? The answer may not be what you expect, but it’s because our clients don’t like big traditional weddings.

Sometimes the idea of having a large traditional wedding is scary. But you go for it anyways because that’s what you’re “suppose” to do right? You start planning, you make a guest list that seems a mile long, and then you get sucked down deeper and deeper into the details of center pieces, linens, bridesmaid dresses, and more. It’s completely overwhelming! When you think about planning your wedding day, it shouldn’t send you into a panic attack, if it does it may be time to re-evaluate how you’re doing things. I am giving you permission to do things differently, think outside the box, have a wedding day that brings you joy not fear!

Most of our destination weddings are because our clients don’t want the traditional, so they take their budget and choose a magical location! We’re just so honored that our clients love us enough to bring us along!

This scenario is exactly what happened with Alicia & Bill. They were all in on planning their NC based wedding when they realized it wasn’t the right thing for them. In stead they decided to dream about what they really wanted, New York City was #1 on their list. Both Alicia & Bill are lighting designers for theatre shows so Broadway is in their blood! They’ve also both lived in NYC for periods of time and have a special love for the Big Apple. So they pulled the trigger and decided to “elope” to NYC with just their closest family and US! Wowzah, I’m still pinching myself!

Not only did Alicia & Bill choose to have their wedding in NYC, but they chose to do it in the most amazing & unique way ever! In stead of renting a venue or going to the court house they chose to hit the city in style! They rented a limo for the day, made a list of their absolute favorite places, and took us all along on their personal tour of their beloved city! Daniel had yet to visit NYC and this was such a cool way for him to experience it for the first time!

I personally love adventure weddings like this one because we really get to know our clients and their loved ones. We watched mom cry as Alicia put on her dress, Bill’s sons crack jokes and make silly faces, and Alicia’s sister squeal with glee when they were officially wed. These relationships & memories are so important and they fill my heart up to overflowing! It was such a joy and honor to explore NYC from the perspective of Alicia & Bill! Thank you both SO MUCH for bringing us along on your incredibly amazing adventure!

XOXOXO,
Mabyn

We met Alicia & Bill at their hotel. Daniel jumped in a cab with the boys while I hung out with the ladies upstairs.

Bill lookin’ all sorts of dapper on the way to his first look.

Everywhere you go there is something interesting to see, people are everywhere, it’s the hustle & bustle of NYC that Alicia and Bill love!

Meanwhile, back at the hotel we Alicia put the last details together for her gorgeous wedding attire.

You seriously can’t go wrong with a birdcage veil! SO beautiful!

Even before Alicia was dressed, Mom started to sniffle. She laughed and said “DAMNIT! I held it together until now!” It was only the beginning of a teary eyed day!

Alicia is so gorgeous and that lip color was perfect for a NYC bride!

I couldn’t help myself when I saw her reflection in the mirror I just had to capture Alicia. Sheer elegance!

That moment when it got REAL!

We finally made it to the street where Alicia & Bill were to have their first look!

Bill’s anticipation was so thick you could cut it with a knife! He was so happy this day was finally here! I can just hear him counting down the seconds until he got to turn around and see his bride!

There are so many city shots I’m obsessed with and this is one of them. I love how the light is highlighting Alicia and her white dress makes her a beacon for all to see. It’s a beautiful contrast to all of the color & busy that’s going on around her, but she’s laser focused on seeing her man!

When Bill turned and saw Alicia the joy no longer could be contained! There were so many hugs & kisses followed by more hugs and kisses!

It’s not every day you see an elopement right? Maybe we’ll hire him as our 3rd photographer, what do you think?

We started in the West Village because Alicia & Bill love the look of the brownstones all lined up. It’s a very beautiful and dreamy part of town.

I adore how open Alicia & Bill are with their love. It’s written all over their faces and in every step they take. You can’t pose this kind of stuff, you have to be aware and let it happen!

Those looks, those hands, that sweetness! These two are amazing!

After I took this shot, I showed it to Alicia & Bill on the back of my camera. Bill’s face lit up and he exclaimed “That one’s going on the mantle piece….now I need to build a mantle piece!”

You can never have enough snuggles in my book. You can tell that they hate it sooooo much! 😉

After exploring a few blocks of the West Village, Saunders the best limo driver ever, picked us all up to head to our next stop on the list.

Is this not the coolest city shot you’ve ever seen? They look so Bad A!

“This is happening! EEEEE!”

Alicia & Bill’s favorite slice in NYC is at Bleeker St. Pizza

We all went with a white slice juuuuuuust to be safe!

How many couples do you know stop for pizza BEFORE they get married? Coolest bride & groom EVER!

After having a delicious slice of pizza we jumped back in the limo to head to Washington Square Park…This ISN’T Washington Square Park. When we arrived there was a giant festival tent parked right underneath the park’s iconic arch as well as mobs of people milling around. We quickly adjusted and went to plan B which turned out you couldn’t take pictures there without a fee. So onto plan C which was a sweet garden located next to St. Paul’s church. This is the beauty of designing their wedding in such a way that they could literally pick any place to get married! The garden was secluded, intimate, gorgeous, and PERFECT!

Alicia’s mom was so sweet, she couldn’t help but get emotional.

Such sweet tears of joy!

Alicia had some too

Alicia & Bill wrote their own vows to each other and it was clear to see how happy they were to make them.

We were all a bit emotional during the ceremony

Even Bill!

Huzzah! It’s official!

The gardens were so gorgeous we just had to take a moment to enjoy them.

And soak up the reality that those rings we staying on forever!

Then back into the limo we went to food stop #2!

A little bubbly to celebrate!

I love how vibrant this shot is, Bill’s look, Alicia’s laugh, the bright city behind them. This is one of my faves.

Our next stop was at Caracas Arepa Bar in the East Village. We had never eaten Arepa’s before, but I will be now! They’re SO delicious!

This place was tiny, but well worth it. We squeezed in the corner and managed to fit our cameras in too.

Nothing like a cold beer on a hot wedding day!

Part 2 of the day included Chucks! These two seriously are after my own heart!

This is an Arepa. You’re welcome.

We all enjoyed every last bite!

And then I did that reflection thing….

A little touch up and then off to First Street Garden & Anabel Basin for more epic adventure photos!

One of the most beautiful aspects of Alicia is her laugh. It’s big, genuine, and picture perfect! These two have such joy and we loved capturing it all!

Red wall + Red lip = WIN!

We made it to Anabel Basin JUST in time for a grand sunset!

Taking in the view

I don’t remember what we were all laughing about, but it was awesome!

These two just can’t contain their adoration for each other.

What a dreamy skyline

Kisses in the Big Apple!

While we waited for the sun to go down, we all grabbed a beer and chatted for a bit. It didn’t take long for that NYC skyline to light up and make me want to light them up!

With fully bellies, tired feet, and lots of wonderful memories made we got into the limo one more time to head to Lincoln Center. At 10pm it was still crowded with tourists watching the gorgeous fountain play tricks. We managed to sneak a shot that wasn’t too crowded.

But I wasn’t completely satisfied. I wanted something more intimate and epic at the same time. I spied these amazing globes down a side alley and popped these sleepy love birds under a spotlight.

Then I turned and saw it. Lincoln Center towered in the background with out a soul to be seen. The perfect epic last shot of an epic wedding adventure!

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Adventure in New York City – Alicia & Bill’s Elopement

The Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography

Wedding

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I am all for a big wedding with everyone you love surrounding you. It can be such a great celebration of love. But…I may be particularly biased when it comes to the super tiny weddings. When I get asked to shoot a wedding that is 50 people or less I just swoon. Daniel and I only had 30 people at our wedding and it was just so special. Every wedding that I’ve captured that has been 50 people or less has a completely different “vibe” to the day. The intimacy is something incredibly hard to achieve with more than 50 people. I’ve had a few come close, but nothing replaces that familiarity that a small wedding naturally has.

Nicki & Brad decided that they’d like that intimacy and celebrated their wedding with only immediate family. They were wed on top of a mountain at The Swag in Waynesville, NC. I’ve stated many a time before, mountains are my happy place! Those beautiful blue ridge peaks were as far as the eye could see and you couldn’t find a more glorious backdrop! As usual the North Carolina summer threatened a giant rain storm, but it never quite found us. Although I was happy to use those dark ominous clouds to enhance this gorgeous couple! That white dress on dark blue mountains and stormy gray clouds…Please don’t mind my drooling!

Nicki and Brad are two of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet. They’re so real and loving, it was hard for me not to jump up and down for joy when they asked us to photograph their sweet elopement! After we left the mountain view (I tried not to cry too hard), we ventured back to The Swag and join in their festivities which included a band, story telling, and a pig roast dinner fit for kings! You’d think that Nicki & Brad had a fancy wedding coordinator with how lovely all the details were, but nope! The Swag is just that awesome!

Daniel and I both got to know Nicki, Brad, and their families that night. It was so special and we were so honored to be let into that world, even for a moment. Thank you Nicki & Brad for your trust in us, we’re so thankful to know you!

XOXOXO,
Mabyn

The Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke PhotographyThe Swag Waynesville, NC wedding photographer Mabyn Ludke Photography

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Nicki & Brad’s Elopement to The Swag in Waynesville, NC